Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Question Most Couples Ask Each Other in the Dark [and a CAC Discount!]

Most couples have talked about it. Late at night with their heads on their pillows. In the quiet of the day when no one else is around, they ask each other the hard questions.

Is adoption right for us?

Can we do it?

Do we have the money it would take? 

If you've ever asked some of those questions, you're not alone.


But getting from the quiet talks late at night to actually adopting is way more rare.

Because going from a crazy idea to doing the research, filling out the paperwork, and writing the checks takes more than just talking about it.

It takes hard work.
It takes dedication.
It takes perseverance.

Ultimately, it takes a family willing to do whatever it takes to bring a little one home.

Are you one of the 1 in 3?
Do you want to be a part of the 2%?  And help that 2% grow?

If you've decided you're open to do more than talking about it,

If you've decided you're ready to begin an adventure,

If you've decided that now is the time to adopt,

If you've decided you're ready to answer God's call for your family,

Christian Adoption Consultants is a great place to start.

We can answer your questions, give you the road map, and equip you with the tools you'll need along the journey.

In celebration of National Adoption Awareness Month, we are offering a discount on our full-service consulting packages. 

10% off our top three, full-service consulting packages
15% off our top three, full-service Minority Adoption Program consulting packages.

This discount is effective from November 1st through November 11th.

*This discount does not apply to the DIY package, our returning client package, or our special needs program or with any other discounts. 

What is Christian Adoption Consultants?  Click here.

What does it mean to hire an adoption consultant?  Click here.

Want to get started or get an info packet?  Click here.

What if you have more questions?  Click here.

Today could be the first step you take on the journey towards adoption! 

Have friends who are thinking about adoption? Make sure you share this post! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We're Calling it the Skating Debacle

A little VanSyckle update, which seems all too familiar at this point (after the monkey bar fiasco)...

We're pretty sure Jack broke an arm.  Again.

We went to a school roller skating party last week. Isabelle and Jackson have only been skating a few times on summer camp field trips. After begging to go to the much anticipated "glow party," I conceded. Admittedly, I was dreading it. I was exhausted. And really, who wants to go to a room full of kids on wheels, loud music that sounds like a bad wedding, and eat hot dogs?

Turns out, the kids loved it. After practicing a few times around with the "skate mates" (aka walkers for kids), they were confident enough to head out on their own around the rink. So, along with a disco ball, black lights, and plenty of 80's thowbacks, they were loving it. While I felt like I was getting a glimpse into my childhood, I also chatted with other mamas.

The party was 4-6pm. We almost made it. At 5:50pm Jackson was down. And I knew immediately that his arm was probably broken. My little guy is tough and we know from his last broken arm that he has a crazy high pain tolerance. So when he was inconsolable, we packed up and headed to the ER at our local children's hospital.

Hours later, after an x-ray, a consult from Ortho, narcotics, and lots of time distracting with the iPad, it was concluded that his bone was bowed and there was possibly a buckle fracture. Because he was in so much pain, his arm was too hard to manipulate for a good x-ray.

So Jackson spent all of last week in a splint and last night we followed up with a pediatric orthopedic specialist. He's currently in a full arm cast and we'll see in a few weeks how long he gets to sport a blue arm.

This makes 3 broken arms in our family in 1.5 years. To the point that the woman who does the casting, Miss Stephanie, now knows us by name.

Soccer season ended early. Family pictures delayed (ya'll might be getting Valentines rather than Christmas cards this year). 

But my tough guy still has a smile on his face.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Perfect Adoptive Family [What Birth Mothers Are Really Looking For]

When birth mothers are faced with an unexpected pregnancy, they are immediately faced with multiple questions:

How am I going to care for this baby?
How am I going to tell my family?
What about my plans?
Should I parent? Have an abortion? Make an adoption plan?

And if they decide to choose adoption, there are a number of other questions:

Do I want an open adoption?
Who can I trust to help me with my adoption plan?
How do I tell others about the adoption?

But one of the biggest questions a birth mother is asked during her adoption journey is this one:
What kind of adoptive family do you want to raise your child?

It's a huge question. Loaded with hopes and dreams and even fears and grief and loss.

What kind of family do you want to raise your son?
Do you want a father who is athletic?
Do you want a mother who has a master's degree?
Will they enroll your daughter in ballet classes?  Your son in soccer?
What about a transracial family?
Do they have a house with a white picket fence and a golden retriever?
Do they go to church?
Are they outdoorsy, or upper middle-class, or live in the suburbs?
What about a stay at home mom?
Will they take trips to Disney World, or camping, or to the grandparents?
How do they celebrate Christmas?

The list goes on and on and on.

Except these aren't the questions birth moms initially ask.

I've found there's huge myths surrounding the "kind" of family birth mothers are looking for that boil down to this:
Birth moms are only looking for young, infertile couples.

The assumption makes sense. Wouldn't a birth mother love to be able to give the gift of her child to a couple who otherwise would not be able to have a family? And wouldn't she choose a young family with their whole lives ahead of them?

I've even run into a few adoption agencies who hold this belief. To the point that they limit larger families with middle-aged parents.

Here's the problem: it simply isn't true.

So what's the one thing birth families are looking for when it comes to choosing an adoptive family? It always boils down to one thing:

They want to find a family who will love their baby as much as they do.

That's it. There's no magical convergence of age or family make up or infertility.

I get asked multiple times a week by adoptive families if they don't have as much of a chance being chosen by a birth family because they already have children (or are older, or the mother doesn't stay at home, or they don't live in a mansion, etc. etc.).

This is always my response: Imagine gathering your friends together several years ago and dreaming about your "perfect family." Some share that they want to start a family as soon as possible, others are on the "5 year plan" after being married for a while and establishing careers. Some friends dream of a few children and others want a whole house full.

Birth parents and their idea of a "perfect adoptive family" are just as unique as our own ideas of family. It's true, some choose a family who is young and may be unable to have children biologically. But I've had many birth parents tell me they would love an older couple who are experienced parents and have stable careers and income. Others share that they would love for their child to have a large family with lots of siblings to embrace them.

Always, the specifics are secondary. When it comes down to it, birth families want to know that their baby will be loved. That their child will be valued. That their daughter will be loved for her quirky grin and freckles. That their son will be cherished for his adventurous spirit and laugh that reaches all the way up to his dark brown eyes.

There is no single perfect adoptive family. But, I've watched time and time again, a birth mama finds THEIR perfect adoptive family. 

A family who loves their little one completely.

A family who sees beyond the differences in biology and genes.

And a family who has room for one more.

THIS is when it's perfect.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

An Open Letter to the 9,999 Who Don’t Adopt Davion

For several days now, I've been thinking about the phenomenon that has swept the nation.  They're calling it the "Davion Effect" with thousands of families calling to adopt the boy who asked for a family recently in a church.
"I'll take anyone," Davion said during his plea at the Saint Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
My friend, Susan Michelle Tyrell, wrote an excellent piece today (first published here at Live Action News) and beautifully put into words the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head about Davion, the orphan crisis in America, and our response.

To the other 9,999 who expressed interest in adopting Davion Navar Henry Only, the 15-year old orphan who went to church to plead for a family and left without one:

According to ABC News you flooded the phone lines and the email until the adoption agency in charge of Davion’s case was “overwhelmed” and nearly crashed from the traffic. And hundreds of you reportedly said you wanted to get information about adopting other children, so maybe I’m only writing to 9,499 of you.
Remember when the agency said to contact someone in your city because “there are Davions in every city in America.” They weren’t kidding. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services child welfare division, on September 30, 2011, there were an estimated 400,540 children in foster care. The data varies slightly, but 400,000 is a consistent estimate.
Now, of those more than 400,000 children, some are in temporary placements and will be reunited with their family, but 9 percent were in institutions and 6 percent were in group homes. To put that in perspective, that means over 36,000 children would then be in institutions and over 24,000 in group homes. Davion is one of those; his plea is to know a family and not only a group home.
The same is true for many others. The HHS report says of those 400,000, 25 percent had a goal, a hopeful outcome, of adoption.
Those are numbers, numbers you maybe can’t immediately see behind the face of this sweet boy who managed to articulate his need. If you can, remove yourself from the raw data and picture 100,000 (25%) children without stable homes, whether their parents are alive or just incapable of care.
recent story in USA Today reports that the median age of these children is 8 ½, and the story quotes an adoption director, saying, “Older children in foster care and families who adopted kids need more help.”
Older adoptees will likely have more issues when they come to you. They have problems sometimes after being outside a family situation for a while, or maybe, like Davion, forever. They may have been ripped away from someone they loved or may be dealing with intense issues of attachment to caregivers. These are problems that make a lot of people reticent, scared even. But they are kids, and they need someone to fight for them.
Can you actually picture 100,00 children? Imagine a broad expanse of land. There stands line upon line of children, babies to 17-year-olds. Most of them between 8-9. They want a family. They want the pro-life Bible verses and theology to be true after they were born. They need families. They would likely agree with Davion who says,

I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.
He adds,

If you can, reach out and get me and love me until I die.
Is there anyone alive who wouldn’t want to know someone loved him or her until death? Many take it for granted, but not foster kids, not orphans. It touches me, as an adult adoptee who knows the desires to have a family. You see, this one is personal, and that’s why I write this not only with statistics that bring the reality home, but with a heart that knows what it’s like to be a child longing for that. The devastating pain is preventable, for Davion and for the other thousands.
When I read that you flooded phones and almost crashed a website with your heart for Davion, it encouraged me that families still exist who might fight for these who are not often the subject of the fight. They need that. They don’t need us to cry over sob stories or argue why it’s too hard to change our lives to love them.
Like Davion who says he will take anyone who will love him until he dies, so will most of these 100,000. Even when the issues are too big for our minds, or seem like too much to handle, that doesn’t invalidate all those Scriptures in the Bible. If we fight for all babies to be born, we have to have a place to put them – a good, healthy, loving, and deeply committed place. Natural parents rarely feel equipped for what’s coming. Parenting is on-the-job training for the willing.
While everyone does not have to adopt, and everyone shouldn’t, a whole lot more probably can than think they can. So to the thousands of you who called the Florida agency, who previously hadn’t even begun the adoption process, if Davion doesn’t come to your home, will you invest in that process for another Davion who hasn’t become famous for wanting a family?
When the publicity dies down and American celebrates the orphan who found a home, will you be behind the scenes still pursuing an orphan who needs a home? What about those 24,000 in group homes who long to know what it’s like to be special, who maybe wonder why they were born only to love in a group setting and then age-out and be sent away on their own? Can we really celebrate like all the orphans are saved when 100,000 of them still need a family?
Within church culture, the concept of “the family of God” is stated as a reality, but without adoption – the very thing on which Christianity is founded in the sense of Jesus giving his life to allow others to be adopted into the family of God – without that, the family of God becomes more like a Christian club. Being pro-life has to mean being pro-adoption – and that’s more than a sentiment. Adoption doesn’t happen because we like the idea or quote a verse about orphans. Adoption happens when people like you, people who found a place in their hearts for Davion, pursue that place for the child who may be yours soon. Adoption happens when you find that pregnant woman and offer to help her and adopt her baby – and care for her as well; that’s family. Adoption happens when family becomes more than flesh and blood even when it doesn’t look like what we imagined, even when our schedule changes, even when our comfort changes. Even when it changes forever.

Regardless of religious values, the reality is that there are children in need. The arguments on theology are irrelevant when you picture that expanse laden with children in need.

“It’s not really cool not to have anybody,” Davion says.
So to you, the 9,999 who don’t end up adopting him, please don’t quit. Please consider keeping that paperwork in motion – or starting it now – and searching your hearts and the foster care system.
Look again at that mass of children on the wide expanse, and now imagine adults walking in. From all sides, they come and take children, one-by-one, or three-by-three, and they walk off, away from the expanse and into a home. You can be a part of that.
Please, ask yourself what opened your heart to Davion. If that was a true desire to love an orphan, don’t let that die out in the aftermath of publicity over one. Be the one for the next one.
There are thousands of Davions out there. They need you.

About the writer: Susan was born in Bethlehem to an unwed mother and rescued by Catholic nuns who took her to an orphanage in Bethlehem, which still helps single moms and rescues babies. Today she's an outspoken advocate for LIFE and speaks and writes about pro-life issues nationwide. 

Rerun: The Cost of Adoption

This was originally posted here last year. Since this is one of the most common questions I get as an adoption consultant, I thought it was time for a rerun...

One of the most common questions I'm asked about adoption is why it's so expensive. When my recent post on who is called to adoption was picked up by LifeSite News, the comments section was full of people saying that they would adopt if it wasn't so expensive.  Although missing the point of my blog (because even if you can't adopt you are called to be a vital part of the caring for the orphan by doing something), it's still a valid point.

Photo by We Are the Parsons

The truth is, adoption is expensive. The average domestic infant adoption in the United States is somewhere between $20,000-40,000. International adoption costs even more, often due to the added travel expenses. Understandably, this is a staggering amount to most families.

So why is it so expensive to adopt? There are many legitimate costs to adoption to ensure that the adoptive family, birth family, and the child are getting quality care throughout the process. Here's a break down of where the money goes: 

Agency Fees
This includes administration fees, reports that are required (home studies and post placement visits) and marketing and networking costs. 

Birthparent Care
This is comprised of vital counseling for the birth parents (both before and after birth), possible living expenses, transportation, maternity clothing, utilities, etc. A good agency will always access community services that are available before asking the adoptive parents to assist with these fees.  

Medical Expenses
If a birth mother is not fully covered by insurance for prenatal care and labor and delivery, these fees are a part of the adoption process to ensure both the birth mother and baby have proper healthcare. 

Legal Fees

Legal expenses include hiring an attorney for the adoptive parents and often the birth parents to ensure the adoption is handled legally and ethically for all parties involved. It also accounts for court filing costs and representation.  

*These fees are associated with domestic infant adoption. Although private adoptions bypass some agency fees, reports are still necessary as well as proper birth parent care, legal fees, and possible medical  expenses. It's important to note that there are little to no fees when adopting through the foster care system and states offer a subsidy and medical insurance until the child is eighteen.

One alarming and disturbing aspect of adoption are the differences in fees associated with a baby's race. The average cost of adopting a Caucasian child in the US is $30-45K where the average cost of adopting an African American child is $24-30K. In my experience, this is due to two reasons. First, the harsh reality is that there is more demand for Caucasian babies in the US. Sadly, there are many more families willing to adopt if the baby "fits their family portrait" than to take on the task of having a multiracial family. The second reason is that many states require agencies to have lower fees for minorities in hopes of encouraging minority adoption. The goal is for adoptive agencies to recruit "potential adoptive homes that reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of children in the state for whom adoptive homes are needed." (Missouri Revised Statutes  453.005) In hopes to recruit more minority adoptive parents, the adoption costs are subsidized. In many minority cultures adoption does happen, just more often in a non-traditional sense. If an African American or Hispanic mother is not in a season to parent, instead of making a legal adoption plan she'll often get assistance from her mother or auntie or another family member or friend to help her raise the baby. 

Sadly, in the US, special needs is (unofficially) considered African American male. For no other reason than race, these sweet babies are some of the hardest to place. The issues of trans-racial adoption are complex and outside the scope of this discussion.  Every life is equally precious but we function in a broken world with broken systems and this is one of the results.  We need more families who have a willingness to adopt; no matter the skin tone.

Although one reality is that adoption is expensive, another reality is that some costs can be avoided all together. There are pitfalls in bad agencies, unethical attorneys, risky situations, and unnecessary bills due to ignorance. Families who walk into adoption "blind" with no one to help them through the process often end up losing thousands of dollars this way. You can see that it's critical to find agencies and attorneys that provide ethical and excellent services to both the birth family and the adoptive family. To know that your adoption finances are well stewarded is of the utmost importance.

Raising this kind of money is not impossible. It's rare that families start the process with tens of thousands in the bank. There are grants, low or no-interest loans, tax credits, employer benefits, and creative fundraising that make adoption possible for families. I've never had a family be matched with a situation and not have the money available. But that's not to say they didn't do the hard work of saving, fundraising, and financing for their adoption. And when you get down to it, is there any better investment you can make financially than investing in the eternal destiny of your child?

This is why I love what I do.  As an adoption consultant, I help people through the complex task of finding quality agencies, ethical attorneys, and situations that are a good fit for their family. I also connect people to helpful grants and coach them on financing and fundraising. In the end all of this hard work ends in the creation of a family.

I don't want to imply that the path of adoption is an easy one. That there won't be significant and very real costs both financially and emotionally. But ask any adoptive family if it was worth it for their son or daughter. I'll bet they'll tell you they would have paid ten times more if they had to now that they're on the other side and see the infinite value of their child.

Adoption is worth the cost.

For more on the adoption process and consulting, contact me at

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Call and Response in Our Home

I hadn't thought about the rhythms of call and response in our home until a sweet friend of mine posted these thoughts to her blog.

Growing up in a tradition that for the most part didn't have much formal liturgy in worship, it hasn't been until recently that a call and response has been a part of our rhythm at church.

Each week we take part in several call and responses as a time of worship. And I've loved it. The rich words. Hearing the good news that Jesus saves sinners. That He is my only hope. And when I say them out loud they go down deep from my lips to my heart. Rehearsing the gospel is so good for my soul.

So I've been thinking about the things we say in our home. Over and over. Without even realizing what we're saying.

If you spent a day in my home, you would hear things like:

"Keep your hands on your own body!"
"Find something positive to do."
"That's an outside ball."
"We use kind words on our home."

Over and over and over. Sometime in grace. Sometimes in anger. Often in frustration.

But I do know of one thing that's repeated several times a day, over and over, that I want spoken continually over our children and their hearts. It's a sort of call and response that Isabelle and Jackson have heard for years now.

Mommy or Daddy:
How do we obey?
Bella or Jackson:
All the way. Right away. In a happy way.

I didn't come up with this one. Over coffee at a party the sweet Therese Engle shared this part of her parenting with me years ago and it stuck. 

It's easy for my kids to remember. It's helpful for parenting and shepherding my kids hearts. They know that they haven't fully obeyed unless it is done all the way, right away, and in a happy way. That I'm more concerned about the attitude of their heart than if they go through the motions of obedience. 

But it stuck with me because I need to learn this same lesson from my Father. 

Child, how do I want you to you obey? 
All the way, right away, and in a happy way.

Do we answer all of his call? Are we quick to follow his directions? And are our hearts delighting in obedience?  

He doesn't want my half-hearted devotion.

He doesn't want my sluggish obedience.

He doesn't want my begrudging service.

God doesn't just care about if we do what he commands. He cares more about the how and why of our obedience.  

He cares about my heart posture when I obey.

I'm glad this is part of our call and response in our home. My heart needs to hear it just as much as my children. I need to say it out loud so it goes down deep from my lips to my heart. 

Yes, rehearsing the gospel in my home is good for my soul.

How do we obey? I want to obey all the way. Right away. And in a happy way.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Just Call Me Suzie Homemaker

I finally did it. I caved and made my own laundry detergent a few days ago. If you would have told me a year ago I would be blogging about making our laundry soap like a farmer's wife I would have politely laughed behind your back. But here I am.

I've previously not made this for several reasons.

  1. I thought it would smell like antiseptic 
  2. I thought there's no way I could make it for less than what I bought it for
  3. I thought it would take crazy work

Some of you know I don't like to pay for things. For Heaven's sake, I haven't bought shampoo now for over six years. Laundry detergent is on the list of things I never pay full price for.

I'm also a stickler for scent. J recently came home with off-brand dryer sheets. Bless him. I have suffered through but I can't wait to get my hands on my beloved Bounce which smells like my mother and sunshine.

So when Gretchen (she's your bestie now too, right, since she's shows up around here a lot?) made this soap and gave me some to try, I became a believer. It smells amazing, is cheap and easy to make, and actually works.

Since this blog is already a mishmash of my life (adoption, family, and now laundry detergent), I decided to share the instructions for DIY laundry detergent. I'm a girl that needs step-by-step instructions when it comes to any kind of homemaking, so here ya go...

Supplied needed:
  • 1 (4 pound box) of Baking Soda 
  • 1 (3 pound box) of Super Washing Soda
  • 1 (3 pound container) of Oxi Clean
  • 1 (4 pound) Borax 
  • 3 bars of Fels Naptha Soap (try Kirks Castile Soap for sensitive skin)
  • 2 Gallon Glass Jar (or some other container)

Here comes the step by step detailed instructions (which is the best part of this):

  1. Shred the bars of soap (we used the food processor)
  2. Mix well (don't inhale too much Oxy Clean)
  3. Add 1/4 cup to your next load!

Starting Costs:
$ 2.24                   Baking Soda               
$ 3.24                   Super Washing Soda  
$ 7.52                   Oxy Clean                  
$ 3.38                   Borax                          
$ 0.97 each (3)     Fels Naptha                
$ 9.97                   Gallon Glass Jar      
$ 0.88                   Measuring Cups
$30.14                  Total                                    

This means that when I go to make it in the future (minus the jar and the measuring cups), just $19.29 for 128 loads of laundry. For our family, this will last us 8-10 months easy (*update* - this lasted my family for ONE YEAR!). And I did the math (something I admittedly never do except when it comes to shopping and saving). For the same amount of Tide detergent, it would have cost me $45. So instead of paying more than $0.35 cents a load, I'm spending $0.16 cents.

AND for 16 cents this city girl can feel a little granola.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Congratulations Kyle and Jeanee

Look at this sweet face!

Kyle and Jeanee started with Christian Adoption Consultants in August.  Just over three weeks later, they were matched with a birth mother.  And late last week, they welcomed their daughter and became a family of three!

Although their journey was quick, it wasn't without roadblocks and challenges. But both Kyle and Jeanee walked in faith, knowing that God had called them to adoption and would be faithful to complete their story.

Today marks their first day home with this sweet little one when they can rest knowing that she will be with them forever. That all of the paperwork and waiting and heartache was worth it. And that God kept his promise to create a family through adoption.

Congratulations Kyle and Jeanee!

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Their Own Words: An Adoptive Mama Shares What NOT to Ask

Today on the blog, one of my sweet prospective adoptive mamas shares her heart about what NOT to ask couples who are adopting. Amanda and her husband, Jarrod are in the very beginning stages of their adoption. I've loved getting to know this sweet couple, their heart for family, and their passion for adoption as an extension of their faith.

When couples announce that they are adopting, the same few questions get asked in response almost every single time. And even if you don’t out right verbalize your questions, believe me, your face says it all…

Are you infertile?

Isn’t adoption expensive?

Can’t you explore medical options to get pregnant?

Why not just get a surrogate?

I will admit that these questions bother me. What is the hang up on adoption? Why does society always assume that adoption is the ‘next best thing'? Or that you should only adopt if a couple can’t have biological children? (I’m planning to write a blog about that soon)

Since the time we really began to think that adoption would be something we would pursue, I have been perusing blogs of Christian families that have grown their families through adoption. I recently read an answer that really put the idea of why we should adopt in perspective. This particular blog posed the idea that maybe we are asking the wrong question.

Instead of asking, “Why adopt?” Maybe we should be asking, “Why not adopt?”

As Christ-followers, we have an interesting perspective on adoption. You see, we were adopted ourselves into a family that is not our own: God’s family.

The concept and idea of adoption and caring for orphans is all over scriptures.

It starts with our adoption into God's family in verses such as Romans 8:14-16

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

…and Galations 4:4-6

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

…and John 14:18

            18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

…and Ephesians 1:4-6 (a personal favorite)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

And then comes the idea of caring for orphans and welcoming children in verses such as Mark 9:37

37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

…and James 1:27

27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So what does the Bible teach us about adoption?

Adoption is God’s love language.

God adopted us. And He calls his followers to do the same for others.

The verses in Scripture that highlight adoption will never be the same for me - ever again.

I feel as though God has given me a deeper understanding for what he did for believers and the extent of his love and calling for the Christian’s life. And more than anything it makes me want to seek the Lord all the more.

This blog describes it well:

 Over and over again, the Bible discusses the special place in God's heart for the fatherless. The most obvious example is Moses, adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. Another notable example is Jesus himself, who was born without an earthly father and adopted by Joseph. And of course, if you are a Christ follower, you have been adopted by God into His family, eternally. What an amazing opportunity to let God's love overflow to a child in need of a family, and a home. Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to care for orphans (James 1:27), and we feel that this is a way that our family can do just that.

… We can't care for all 147 million orphans, but we are praying and hoping to make a difference in the life of one child. To share Jesus with them. Show them unconditional love and what family means. To show them how we have been adopted by our Heavenly Father, the creator and sustainer of the universe. To put them to bed, to take them to school, wipe their boogies and sing them to sleep.

Let me repeat this one more time, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

What a thought:

With every sleepless night...

With every poopy diaper...

With every runny nose...

With every tear...

With every bottle...

With every lullaby...

With every hug and kiss...

With every single thing we do to meet the needs of our baby…

We are welcoming Jesus and answering the call on our lives.

You can read more about Jarrod and Amanda and follow their journey to adoption at their blog, Adding to Us.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I Love You More Than Cheese

"Mommy, Daddy, can you come here!?"

This happens half a dozen times a night after we read and said prayers and blessings and gotten water and tucked in and turned the music on.

But last week, Jackson pleas were a little different. 

After realizing that he wasn't going to give up, we called Jackson into the kitchen to see what was up. He came in, carrying a Sandra Boynton Song Book (a popular children's author who is endeared in our home for her silly books and songs). Within seconds, he had a quivering lip and big crocodile tears. He shared that he was upset after listening to a song about a dog who left his home to go on an adventure. It took Jamy a good 20 minutes to talk with Jackson, help him work through his feelings (assuring him that he wouldn't need to leave home anytime soon), and get him back to bed.

About 10 minutes go by and we hear another, "Mommy, Daddy, can you come here?"

Now, knowing our son is emotionally fragile, we rush to the room. And we find him in tears. Again.

"Mommy, Daddy, some songs make me cry because they make me sad and some songs make me cry because they make me happy.  I listened to this song and it made me think of how muchly you love me." 

Of course, my heart exploded right there.

Then he showed us the song he had been listening to: "I Love You More Than Cheese." 

Picture the scenes on the Cosby Show of an old woman in a night club singing for the cheese song genre. You can get a taste here

THEN, he asked us to listen to the song as a family. At this point, I'm already stiffling giggles. And I can tell from the corner of my eye Jamy is trying to make eye contact. I refuse knowing I'll totally break down and ruin the "moment" for our son. 

We're learning how tender Jackson's heart is. He's just beginning to holler, "I love you, Mom!" without me saying it first as he runs out the door, still loves giving hugs and kisses, and comforts his sister when she's sad. His sensitivity to Disney villains is staggering. We're praying he continues to have a heart that is both soft and strong, tender and brave.

But last night, I banned the Boynton Song Book after he wept over lonely peas.

Who knew that the kid's author Sandra boyton would create such turmoil in my son's night time routine. He is weeping over lonely peas.

P.S. I'm sorry in advance Jackson if your high school buddies find this before you do. But I'm pretty sure this will go down as a classic family story and I had to get it down.
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